My good old buddy Frank Lunney aka Captain Rowdy croaked this month. He was a "triple X-rated" comic and pretty big in the southwest when I first started out. He took me under his wing in the early years and sometimes under his fists or shod foot. His beatings were like a gift from an angel. Shit started going downhill for him after a while and never seemed to stop. Diabetes had them whittling his limbs down like scrimshaw and his kidneys finally left him like so many of his wives. He was a damn good human being and I can't say how much I appreciate all he did for me starting out.
If you care to help, buy my merch. His 13 year old son Gage is now an orphan and I'm sure he'll be jacking me up for cash soon. I'll say it's from you.
I've been lazy about putting up fun fan mail. This one showed up as actual hand-written snail-mail near 4th of July a year ago. My friend Hack read it out loud in the kitchen and we all laughed at the fan-boyish tone. At least at first.
I'll transcribe it as it was written.
"Dear Doug... or should I say feloow drunk Doug,
I was at your show last October or November down in Ft Lauderdale, I was the creepy kid in black among the crowd of creepy kids in black and I really enjoyed the show and I'm glad I got to see you live because I was beginning to think you weren't real; I was starting to think you were some form of CGI digital Santa Claus that was sent down by God to save us from this retarded society we live in. At least I got to see the philosopher Doug Stanhope do his magic and I'm talking real magic, the kind that makes you want to drink even when you really don't want to.
Anyway, since you're reading this you should knw that I'm already dead by the time you get this. I'm no fan of the world and even less the way I live in it, and there are some good things but I've had 23 almost 24 years to do those things, and although I want to stay a little longer and get to see some more I can't, for the moral justice thinks I have to do 7 years in a prison for looking at the wrong kind of porn even though that happened to me as a kid and I never complained about it.
Anyway, now that I'm completely out of hope, I'm leaving you my favorite book, which I think you will like and maybe give a few ideas for new material. It's not perfectbut most of the concepts in the book are similar to your views, just a little less vulgar.
So Doug, thanks for giving me something to laugh at, that was almost impossible with my gloomy outlook and sick sense of humour.
Thanks for being the one person with the balls to speak out the truth. I hope you are much more successful in what's left of your career and save some worthy people before it's too late.
Thanks and good luck
Your fan and follower.
Liam S.V. Hughes
Oh and by the way, it's painless helium suicide in case you were wondering. At least I DIED LAUGHING!"
We checked it out and he indeed killed himself after being arrested with child porn on his computer and facing 7 years. My lawyer friend who looked up the case said he did the right thing, considering his odds in prison. I don't think I could have offered a better suggestion aside from using something other than helium as I already have a bit about a fan that killed himself that way.
Comics always say that they are happy to be able to make people laugh, to give em a small break from their daily grind, their grueling nine-to-five. A lot of my people have a much darker grind and I'm happy to give them a nice chuckle and release at the end of a long day setting fires, drowning their kids in a car and blaming it on the blacks or debating between suicide or prison.
Liam Hughes was certainly not the only really fucked-up fan I've had nor will he be the last. I don't know exactly why I appeal to so many wrecked, scared, miserable, ugly, angry or otherwise ill-suited for life as we know it. But I'm not unhappy that you're here. Every time there's somebody like the Aurora theater shooter, I check my mailing list and Facebook to see if they were a fan. I know that if it weren't for comedy, I might be sitting in a dark room stockpiling weapons and putting names on lists.
Maybe you should try writing jokes. Or kick-boxing or something. Join a Neighborhood Watch. That's where all the real psychopaths hang out.
I don't have all the answers. I just do comedy.
But in the meantime, certainly keep your cards and letters coming to 212 Van Dyke St. Bisbee AZ 85603.
In case you're wondering, the book Liam sent with the letter was called "Think!: Why Crucial Decisions Can't Be Made in the Blink of an Eye." Pretty unremarkable but it's the thought that counts.
Wow, this update has been pretty death-heavy.
Here's a great story for anyone who's fantasized about riding over the Westboro Baptists with a combine followed by a Zamboni, a more clever way to fuck with em!
Me, I feel better already.